Can cleaning a toilet bring joy? | Humanitarian Coalition
Can cleaning a toilet bring joy?
“Before the facility was built, people would go into the bushes nearby to defecate. The smell alone was bad. Now, many people use the public latrines - even residents who have their own washrooms at home”

She doesn’t get paid for it, but Hajar, a mother of three, now understands the importance of clean water and proper hygiene. On December 7, 2016, an earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale struck the island of Aceh, Indonesia, causing widespread damage. In Hajar’s district, Pidie Jaya, the quake destroyed approximately 30 per cent of the buildings. It damaged water systems and pipes, caused seawater to seep into water sources and resulted in landslides blocking springs. Thousands of people across the island found themselves with little to no access to safe water and sanitation.

Thanks to funding from the Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund, Oxfam Canada worked with a local partner to build and rehabilitate 11 latrines and nine wells in five communities. In addition, the organization trucked in clean water to meet the immediate needs of more than 1,000 displaced people and distributed more than 2,000 hygiene kits, providing 7,500 people with items such as soap, toothpaste, detergent, sanitary pads and diapers. Community sessions helped inform residents on the increased risks of disease transmission and highlight the need for proper hygiene practices.

“Before the facility was built, people would go into the bushes nearby to defecate. The smell alone was bad. Now, many people use the public latrines - even residents who have their own washrooms at home,” says Hajar.

October 16, 2017